Chapter 24: Who Said We Are Not a Family?
Translator: Noodletown Translated Editor: Noodletown Translated
The voice briefly stupified Hao Ren before he quickly put down the phone and rushed to the balcony from his upper berth.
He saw the black Chevrolet quietly parked in front of his dorm.
He went back into the room without thinking much and threw on some clothes and shoes. Hao Ren then picked up his phone and sprang downstairs.
Zhao Guang was in the driver’s seat while Zhao Hongyu was in the passenger seat. Zhao Yanzi was sitting in the back with her pouting little mouth.
“Why…are you here?” Hao Ren asked in surprise.
“We are going on a weekend trip, and we are here to pick you up,” Zhao Guang responded. The tone of his voice was beyond doubt as if Hao Ren was definitely going to join them.
Hao Ren wanted to come up with an excuse, “Today I…”
“I’ll have Lu Qing speak to the school if there is something you need to do,” Zhao Guang said.
“Um…” Hao Ren struggled for a bit before he finally gave up, “Alright, it’s not a big deal. We don’t need to speak to the vice principal.”
“Okay.” Zhao Guang nodded.
“Get in the car.” Zhao Hongyu smiled at Hao Ren.
Hao Ren opened the door awkwardly and sat in the back beside Zhao Yanzi. That was his only option.
“Mom! Why are we taking him? You said it was going to be a family trip!” Zhao Yanzi complained.
“Isn’t Hao Ren a part of our family?” Zhao Hongyu said softly.
Zhao Yanzi didn’t know what to say. She thought about it, and Zhao Guang interrupted just when she was about to argue again, “We’ll just go back home if you keep complaining. You can go do your homework then.”
That certainly worked at suppressing her temper as she shut her mouth. However, her pouting became even more obvious.
“Ren, you haven’t had breakfast yet, have you?” Zhao Hongyu turned around and asked gently.
“It’s ok. I’m not hungry,” Hao Ren answered.
“Open up the bag, Zi. Give Ren a piece of bread,” Zhao Hongyu said.
Zhao Yanzi held her breath and opened the bag. Still upset, she took out a small bread and threw it at Hao Ren.
“Thank you!” Hao Ren said to Zhao Hongyu.
Zhao Guang kept on driving steadily and stopped talking.
Zhao Yanzi lurked in the corner and kept her distance from Hao Ren. It was more of a demonstration of her attitude towards Hao Ren and her parents; it was evident that she was annoyed at him.
After leaving the downtown area, they got on a much broader road. The four of them in the car never spoke again.
The long drive and similar views outside the window were starting to make people sleepy. Both Hao Ren and Zhao Yanzi were dozing off.
Hao Ren was sleeping because of the lack of sleep he had since he slept too late last night and woke up too early this morning. As for Zhao Yanzi, it was due to her excitement of the trip today that made it difficult for her to go to sleep last night. The comfortable seats of the car made her want to sleep as well.
The two of them both fell towards the middle of the back seat as the car continued along the road…
“We are here!” A crisp voice woke them both up.
Hao Ren and Zhao Yanzi slowly woke up as they realized that their heads were touching.
“Get out!” Zhao Yanzi pushed Hao Ren away with an unpleasant frown. She quickly jumped out of the car.
The surrounding view of green mountains and clear waters soon put a happy smile on her face.
Hao Ren wiped the drool from his mouth and got out of the car too. He realized that they were already in the mountains.
“Where is this?” He asked.
“GreenStone Mountain,” Zhao Hongyu answered.
“Ah?” Hao Ren was surprised.
GreenStone Mountain was a famous tourist attraction outside East Ocean City, but it was over 100 kilometers from downtown. It seemed like they have unnoticeably driven for more than two hours.
“Let’s go to the top of the mountain today and stay at the hotel at the foot of the mountain tonight,” Zhao Hongyu continued.
“Ah?” Hao Ren became even more surprised.
He forced himself to come on the trip with Zhao Yanzi’s family thinking that they would return within a day. But to stay the night…? It was…
Since it’s over 100 kilometers from the city, even the buses here wouldn’t be going in that direction. People who visited here would usually drive or take the bus provided by travel agencies after all.
“Let’s put our belongings down at the hotel first,” Zhao Hongyu suggested.
Zhao Guang put away the car key as he nodded. He took the large traveling bag from her and headed towards the nearby hotel.
Although Zhao Guang didn’t talk much, Hao Ren could feel the tacit understanding and loving relationship between him and Zhao Hongyu.
“Here!” Zhao Yanzi stuffed her backpack into Hao Ren’s arms and skipped behind her dad.
Hao Ren felt a little awkward knowing that he had to stay with them for two days. However, there was no way back at the moment. He threw Zhao Yanzi’s backpack onto his back and followed them to the hotel with a shrug.
The four-star hotel at the foot of the famous mountain wasn’t cheap at all. One room would cost 1200 yuan a night.
Zhao Guang paid for two rooms with his platinum card as if it was nothing.
Then they need to coordinate the rooms. “They wouldn’t make me share a room with Zhao Yanzi, would they?” Hao Ren thought to himself.
“Let’s go!” Zhao Guang patted him on the shoulder after noticing Hao Ren’s hesitation.
Hao Ren suddenly realized that he would be sharing a room with Zhao Yanzi’s dad, and Zhao Yanzi would be in the other room with her mom.
“What was I thinking…” Hao Ren talked to himself as he walked into the room with Zhao Guang.
Their rooms were opposite to each other. Hao Ren followed Zhao Guang into the room and found that the rooms were elegantly decorated even though they weren’t too large.
He pulled back the curtains, and the beautiful scenery of GreenStone Mountain entered his view. A wave of fresh air breezed across his face; he had never breathed in such fresh air in the city.
“Put everything down and freshen up a little before we start the climb,” Zhao Guang said to Hao Ren.
“Ok,” Hao Ren put Zhao Yanzi’s pink little backpack on a chair and walked into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth as well as rinsed his face. He left in such a rush that he didn’t even have time to do that. It was pretty embarrassing to think about.
The three of them were already waiting at the door when Hao Ren stepped out of the bathroom.
“So slow!” Zhao Yanzi mumbled.
Hao Ren didn’t want to quarrel with her in front of her parents. He lightly coughed twice and asked Zhao Guang, “Time to go?”
“Take my backpack!” Zhao Yanzi cried out.
Hao Ren turned around and picked up her little pink backpack.
“Be polite, Zi!” Zhao Guang finally couldn’t hold it back anymore and scolded her.
Zhao Yanzi gritted her teeth as she felt wronged. She was so thrilled about the family trip, but Hao Ren’s sudden appearance made her uncomfortable.
“Come on, let’s get on the mountain,” Zhao Hongyu said.
“Oh, let me give my grandma a call first. I was supposed to go visit her this weekend,” Hao Ren suddenly remembered and took his phone out.
He dialed home and told his grandma that he wouldn’t be able to visit her this weekend since he was going out with his “classmates”. His grandma didn’t blame him. On the other hand, she told him to have fun.
Zhao Hongyu felt that Hao Ren was even more filial and understanding through his use of tone and words over the phone.
“The air here is really fresh. You should take your grandma here sometime. There is a Farmer Host* at the mountain foot. Some young people in the city would bring their parents here to escape the heat as well as enjoy each others’ company. The elders can play cards, chat, and try out some refreshing dishes. This place is pretty relaxing and popular,” Zhao Hongyu said to Hao Ren as he hung up the phone.
“Um,” Hao Ren mumbled. He had never mentioned Zhao Yanzi to his grandma, and he even told her that he was out with “classmates” just now. How was he supposed to introduce his grandma to Zhao Yanzi’s parents?
He didn’t know if grandma would be startled or surprised to see such a disobedient and misbehaving granddaughter-in-law.
“We are a family so don’t be so stiff. Loosen up a little. Let’s start the climb,” Zhao Hongyu smiled at Hao Ren and walked out of the hotel entrance while holding Zhao Guang’s hand.
* Farmer Host: it is a type of restaurant/hotel where people would stay with a family of farmers in order to experience the farm life.